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Dublin clinch Leinster U21 three-in-a-row after extra-time success over Kildare

Cillian O’Shea’s extra-time goal was the crucial score in Navan.

Dublin 2-14
Kildare 0-17

Fintan O’Toole reports from Páirc Tailteann, Navan

DUBLIN CLINCHED VICTORY for the third year in a row in the EirGrid Leinster U21 football final against Kildare after extra-time in a thrilling decider this afternoon.

Con Kavanagh tackles Martin Cahilan Kildare's Con Kavanagh tackles Dublin's Martin Cahilan Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

An extra-time goal from Dublin’s Cillian O’Shea in the 69th minute was the crucial score in putting daylight between the sides after an encounter that generated huge regrets for Kildare in not managing to land the spoils.

Dublin attacker Con O’Callaghan bagged the man-of-the-match honour as he struck 1-7 but Kildare’s Neil Flynn was another star performer as he hit 0-10 while Ben McCormack fired 0-5 for the Lilywhites.

Victory for Dessie Farrell’s side sees them advance to an EirGrid All-Ireland U21 semi-final against Mayo or Roscommon on Saturday 16 April.

Dublin had to overcome a slow start to clinch victory here as they displayed excellent powers of recovery. A rampant Kildare team were ahead by 0-9 to 0-2 after 25 minutes with Sarsfields forward McCormack taking the Dublin defence for five points from play in that period.

But the introduction of Ballyboden St-Enda’s All-Ireland winner Shane Clayton was crucial in helping to quell the influence of McCormack as the game wore on.

Dublin finished the first-half impressively and notched a vital goal in the 27th minute when O’Callaghan crashed the ball to the roof of the net. At the interval Dublin trailed 0-10 to 1-5 and were well in the hunt for success.

Early in the second-half Dublin drew level after points from co-captain Andy Foley and O’Callaghan but Kildare regained the initiative once more with Chris Healy and Flynn pushing them two clear by the 37th minute.

Kildare created plenty chances thereafter but could not press home their advantage on the scoreboard. They were in front 0-12 to 1-7 entering the final quarter before Dublin enjoyed a golden spell in front of goal.

Brian Howard, O’Callaghan, Glenn O’Reilly and Martin Cahilan all raised white flags between the 47th and 51st minutes to see Dublin ahead 1-11 to 0-12.

To Kildare’s credit they refused to wilt with Flynn striking a point from play and bringing the teams level when he struck over a fantastic free in the 54th minute. That proved the last score of normal time but in a thrilling finale both sides had chances to grab the winner and indeed Kildare nearly netted at the death only for Mark Sherry’s shot on the turn to go narrowly wide.

O’Callaghan opened the scoring in extra-time for Dublin before a pair of Flynn points left Kildare ahead 0-16 to 1-12.

Then came the critical moment when Dublin prised apart the Kildare rearguard in the 69th minute. Kildare goalkeeper Declan Campbell had produced a string of fine saves in normal time but on this occasion Kilmacud Crokes player O’Shea expertly drilled the ball to the bottom corner of the net.

O’Callaghan stretched Dublin’s lead to three soon after and despite immense Kildare pressure in the closing stages of extra-time, a single point from Flynn was all they could muster as Dublin held on for victory.

Scorers for Dublin: Con O’Callaghan 1-7 (0-5f), Cillian O’Shea 1-0, Glenn O’Reilly 0-2, Martin Cahilan, Andy Foley (0-1f), Brian Howard, Chris Sallier, Colm Basquel 0-1 each.

Scorers for Kildare: Neil Flynn 0-10 (0-5f, 0-1 ’45), Ben McCormack 0-5, Paschal Connell, Chris Healy 0-1 each.

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1. Lorcan Molloy (St Annes)

4. Eoin Smith (Skerries Harps)
6. Sean McMahon (Raheny)
7. Declan Monaghan (Clontarf)

12. Cillian O’Shea (Kilmacud Crokes)
10. Brian Howard (Raheny)
3. Martin Cahilan (Cuala)

8. Andy Foley (Clontarf)
20. Donal McIlghorm (Skerries Harps)

9. Killian Deeley (Na Fianna)
19. Colm Basquel (Ballyboden St-Enda’s)
5. Glenn O’Reilly (Na Fianna)

13. Chris Sallier (Thomas Davis)
14. Con O’Callaghan (Cuala)
15. Darragh Spillane (Cuala)

24. Shane Clayton (Ballyboden St-Enda’s) for O’Shea (inj) (4)
18. Aaron Elliot (Ballymun Kickhams) for McIlghorm (inj) (14)
17. Paddy Small (Ballymun Kickhams) for Spillane (half-time)
2. Eoin Murchan (Na Fianna) for Monaghan (half-time)
11. Michael Deegan (Donaghmore-Ashbourne) for Ellioit (46)
12. O’Shea for Sallier (60)
22. Kieran Doherty (St Judes) for O’Reilly (68)
15. Spillane for Murchan (75)
21. Tony O’Sullivan (Whitehall Colmcille) for Smith (78)


1. Declan Campbell (Raheens)

4. Paul Mescall (Maynooth)
3. Darren Maguire (Maynooth)
2. Eoghan Bateman (Naas)

5. Ryan Houlihan (Moorefield)
6. Shea Ryan (Sarsfields)
7. Brian Byrne (Naas)

8. Luke Flynn (Johnstownbridge)
9. Paschal Connell (Athy)

20. Con Kavanagh (Sarsfields)
22. Cian McMonagle (Clogherinkoe)
10. Conor Hartley (Sarsfields)

13. Ben McCormack (Sarsfields)
14. Chris Healy (Two Mile House)
15. Neil Flynn (Maynooth)

17. Mark Hyland (Athy) for Byrne (28)
24. Rory Feely (Athy) for Hartley (38)
12. Mark Sherry (Two Mile House) for McMonagle (42)
23. Cian Scanlan (Sarsfields) for Healy (53)
11. Barry Kelly (Athy) for Scanlan (60)
23. Scanlan for McCormack (inj) (68)
18. Dara Malone (Allenwood) for Maguire (75)
14. Healy for Feely (78)

Referee: John Hickey (Carlow)

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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